Pledge for high speed broadband across France by 2022 described as an ‘illusion’

by Ray Clancy on November 13, 2017

Expats in France often start their own business, especially those living in rural areas, but these can rely on internet access and the latest research suggests this is a much poorer service than many realise.

According to French Government targets set out in 2013 by 2022 everyone in France should be able to use the internet at a speed of three megabits a second or more. Just a few months ago French President Emmanuel Macros pledged to bring this forward to 2020.

Broadband Internet

(robert_s/Shutterstock.com)

But research from consumer group Que Chosir suggests this is unlikely to happen. Indeed, its report suggests that the current roll out of higher speeds is 13 years behind and half a million, mostly in rural areas, have no internet access at all.

Overall the research also found that 7.5 million people are unable to get a high speed connection and one of the worst areas in the country is the Dordogne which has the highest number of British expats, many of whom run their business from home. In the region just 1% have high speed broadband.

But it is a different story in towns and cities. In Haut de Seine, for example some 90% have high speed internet access. While other areas with poor access include the Creuse in central France and the Meuse in the North East.

Que Choisir suggests the universal high speed broadband will not happen across the country until 2035 at the current rate and the roll out needs to be speeded up considerably. It says that the Government should focus first on the regions that are worst off and many of these are in the South West of the country.

Those most likely to have a poor or non-existent connection are small villages of under 1,000 people. The report described achieving nationwide access by 2022 as an ‘illusion’.

It also warns that the roll out will inevitably lead to higher prices for broadband as the main providers are investing millions in the technology needed and it is expensive to install the necessary modern networks in rural areas.

France is also poor when it comes to mobile phone speeds. A report published earlier this year of users in 87 different countries put France at 31, below many other European countries including Norway, Hungary, the Netherlands, Denmark, Lithuania, Sweden, Belgium, Austria, Croatia, Finland, Switzerland, Latvia, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Spain, Bulgaria, Greece, the UK, Italy, Slovenia, and Germany.

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